Since March 31, 2019, people in Hong Kong have been protesting against a controversial extradition bill. After the 150-year period where Hong Kong was under British rule, in 1997 an agreement was made that allowed Hong Kong to have its own government system separate from China’s for the next 50 years. Despite the Hong Kong Basic Law, the constitution that allows for two distinctive systems in one country, the central government in Beijing has been reinterpreting this law to saying that it has “complete jurisdiction” over Hong Kong. Naturally, this angered the citizens of Hong Kong immensely, resulting in protests. The protestors have now evolved to demanding full democracy and police accountability in Hong Kong.
The protests all started because of amendments that were proposed to Hong Kong’s extradition law. These amendments were proposed because a Hong Kong man, Chan Tong-Kai, was accused of strangling and stuffing his pregnant girlfriend into a suitcase. The suspect and his girlfriend were in Taiwan when the incident occurred, and he flew to Hong Kong after committing the crime. Because Hong Kong and Taiwan do not have an extradition treaty, Chan Tong-Kai couldn’t be sent to trial. To solve this issue, the Hong Kong government used this case to propose amendments that would allow case-by-case extraditions to countries that don’t already have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
These new amendments would allow extraditions to China making many Hong Kongers worried that China would take advantage of the amendments to detain Hong Kong citizens. This would take away any and all protection Hong Kong had from China’s criminal system.
Since June, the protests have been getting more and more intense and frequent. The Hong Kong police have been shooting protestors with rubber bullets, throwing bean bags, firing tear gas, and shooting water cannons. On August 12 and 13, the protestors even went to the Hong Kong International Airport and plastered signs all over the floors and walls. This disruption caused many flights to be cancelled and caught the attention of many more people all over the world.
The protests are reaching beyond borders and causing other controversies. The issue has even gained the attention of several public figures. A celebrity that really captured the public’s attention is Yifei Liu. Yifei Liu, an actress in the upcoming remake of Disney’s “Mulan”, sparked a great deal of controversy when she announced her support for the Hong Kong police. People began to call Liu out for being an American citizen and expressed their opinions about her support for police brutality. In addition the hashtag #BoycottMulan became trending on Twitter.
Many people have various opinions on the protests that are continuously occurring. The Hong Kong protests have become a worldwide controversy that continues to grow out of proportion by the day.
Nicole Kim, Grade 11
South Pasadena High School